Best →

How to Vacuum Stairs

Christen da Costa Profile image

Written By:

Updated June 27, 2022

Learning the correct technique on how to vacuum stairs, which is easier than cleaning a carpet without a vacuum, will save a lot of time and make the process safer. Vacuuming stairs might seem simple, but it can pose a lot of danger. No matter who you are or how long you’ve been vacuuming, keep reading for the best guidance on the topic. We’ll go over the correct technique, what vacuums are best, and more.


  • When vacuuming carpeted stairs, try and go with cordless stick vacuums since they’re lightweight and easy to maneuver with limited risk of injury.
  • Always consider what kind of flooring you’re dealing with since hardwood floors have vastly different needs than a carpet runner does.
  • Start at the top of the staircase so that if debris or loose dirt fall, they won’t fall onto stairs you have already cleaned.

Vacuuming Carpeted Stairs the Right Way

The first step in finding how to vacuum carpeted stairs the right way is finding the right vacuum. You should take into account your lifestyle, needs, and budget to find your best option. You’ll also need to know how often to use carpet shampoo and how often this cleaning task should be performed. For now, just know that there is a right and wrong way to go about the stair cleaning process when a carpet is involved.

Finding the Right Vacuum for Stairs

Making sure you have the right tools for the job is crucial. One of the most significant issues people run into is that they don’t account for stair cleaning when picking out a vacuum. If you have a heavy vacuum cleaner, you’ll probably just want to purchase something small and new to make sure you tackle the task safely and correctly.

What to Look for in Vacuums

There are a few features you should always consider when you go shopping for a new vacuum cleaner. Here are a few of the most important things to think about:

  • Look for a lightweight vacuum cleaner
  • Make sure it has plenty of strong suction power
  • Prioritize having a cordless model rather than a corded vacuum
  • Keep maneuverability in mind when shopping
  • Purchase a crevice tool if it doesn’t already have one

The Correct Technique for Vacuuming

The correct technique for vacuuming will depend on the type of floor. For example, vacuuming hardwood floors is different from vacuuming carpets. Although, no matter what you’re vacuuming not everyone in your home will enjoy the noise, especially pets. There is a right way and a wrong way to vacuum your stairs. This might seem like a silly idea, but cleaning your stairs can easily be a dangerous activity. The reason for looking at cordless vacuums, for example, is so that the cord doesn’t trip you. While falling down the stairs is a regular trope in the movies, it isn’t nearly as funny in real life.

Alternatively, vacuuming bees into a box sounds comedic, too, but it’s a totally different experience. 

Vacuuming Carpet the Right Way

If you have the correct vacuum for the job, then half of the battle has been fought. The next thing to remember is how you should be using that shiny, new lightweight vacuum cleaner. Always start at the top of the stairs to ensure that any loose dirt falling won’t mess up the stair cleaning process. You’ll also want to turn the vacuum sideways and slide slowly but firmly against the grain of your carpet. If you have stairs with carpet runners, you’ll want a crevice nozzle to get the empty strips on either side of it. And just like vacuuming a car, you want to use the right features on your vacuum, to get the best result.

How Often to Shampoo Carpeted Stairs

Using carpet shampoo is the next step in the ultimate where stair cleaning is concerned. However, you should always make sure you aren’t doing it too often since this can damage your beautiful and expensive carpet. It will also depend on what style of carpet you’re dealing with. Every 12 months or so is a pretty safe bet, and just a touch more often if you have pets. Make sure to check with the manufacturer of the carpet before using any cleaning solutions. When in doubt, do a spot test.


What designs or functions could negatively impact the stair cleaning process?

When vacuuming your stairs, the first thing you want to look for is mobility. A clunky vac might topple over and even become damaged in the process. A cordless model would be a great choice, as well, to make sure you have one less hassle to deal with.

Do vacuums scratch hardwood floors?

That depends on what kind of hardwood you have. Natural hardwood is relatively resistant so long as you keep up with maintenance. On the other hand, laminate and faux versions can get scratched up quickly if you aren’t careful. Just make sure your vacuum cleaner is suitable for hardwood.

Are certain vacs better for certain types of stair surfaces?

Some vacs will be much better for a job than others. Figuring out what floor types you have in your house is the first step in determining what kind of vac you need. Delicate area rugs, for example, will require much different treatment than thickly carpeted surfaces.

How Can I Vacuum My Carpeted Stairs Thoroughly Yet Safely?

It can be dangerous to vacuum your carpeted stairs, but it’s also a job done countless times a day across the world. The main idea is to make sure that your vac is lightweight and easily portable. Making sure you avoid corded models is essential, as well, since that’s a tripping hazard.

STAT: When opting for a cordless model, make sure it has a battery power of at least 25 to 30 minutes so that you can get your cleaning done without having to stop charging; once the battery runs down it will likely need to recharge for 3 hours or more. (source)

Christen da Costa Profile image